Hardcore Tactical Tools

The Szabo pry bar is compact enough to be carried…

The Szabo pry bar is compact enough to be carried on raids. With a carrier it could be slung on the back of a tactical vest.

It used to be that a cop’s gear consisted of little more than a wooden truncheon and a whistle. We’ve come a long way from that point and cops today have a veritable “Bat Belt” of equipment at their disposal. Once you add a vehicle into the mix, you move from carrying your basic necessities to being able to carry a lot of “what if” gear. That isn’t a bad thing either. Cops often don’t know exactly what they’re going to run into on the road, and rarely have time to go back to the station to retrieve a piece of gear. Generally, if you need it, you need it right now. Exactly what you carry will depend on your particular duties or specialization but there are a lot of things that are useful enough to be considered for anyone on the road. There was a time when you could wait on SWAT if you ran into something sticky but, with the way that many of the recent active shooter scenarios have unfolded, that isn’t always the case now. You may need to gain access to or contain a gunman quickly and you can’t necessarily wait for all the gear on the truck to arrive anymore.

Szabo’s Entry Tool
From the fertile mind of Laci Szabo springs two new designs geared towards getting you into places that folks don’t want you to be. Laci has a long history of designing knives and tools, and has done collaboration work with companies such as TOPS knives and Spyderco. This time around he’s used his experience as a police and SWAT officer to design a couple of unique approaches to entry tools.

The first item is just that, a somewhat conventional steel entry tool. Laci has some serious departures from a basic Halligan tool though. When you first take a look at his entry tool you see a mix of a pry bar and axe. Laci designed the handles to mimic the shape and feel of an axe handle. This allows for a better grip and hold for powerful over-hand swings to take out glass, windows and light doors. The long Micarta scales give plenty of surface area to grip and seem much more comfortable than the rounded handles found on many tools. The core of the tool is a thick, flat bar of 5160 steel. The head is a vaguely arrowhead shaped with a flat head somewhat reminiscent of a screwdriver tip. A single bezel on the end allows the tool to be used as a pry or wedge. Just under the head, on the forward edge is a hook designed to rake glass and hook blinds or curtains out of the way after taking out a window. While a robust tool, the long flat bar is lighter and easier to pack than a Halligan tool. It would store easily in the trunk of a car and, with some sort of carry system, would ride flat along the back of a tactical vest for entry teams.

Aside from the obvious use of smashing through glass and light doors, the entry tool can also be used as a wedge and pry bar. At work we found that the beveled end could be inserted into a door near the lock. When you apply lateral pressure at that point you can either pop the lock or jam the bar in further to pry them. This worked best with interior doors; most exterior doors are going to require a bit more force. Pricing on the custom-made entry tools is set at $500 but Laci is working on a production model that should run around $150. He’s also planning a smaller one-hand version that will be 25 percent smaller than the current model.

If prying or bashing isn’t going to do the trick, what about cutting? It’s not uncommon to run across padlocked and chained doors and fences. While bolt cutters are often the solution to this, Laci has taken a different approach with the development of a tactical thigh rig designed to hold an acetylene torch. The thigh rig is a heavy-duty Cordura nylon set up designed to hold an oxygen and propane canister, hose and torch assembly, and an igniter, for the type of compact acetylene torch found in many hardware stores. Rather than using brute force to cut through these obstacles, and carrying a set of heavy-duty bolt cutters, the torch allows you to zip through locks and chains in a relatively quiet manner. The thigh rig is also easier to carry and weighs less than most cutters as well. It’s an out-of-the-box solution for breaching a common hindrance to building entry. US-made versions of the thigh rig will sell for $80 with another version made in Mexico selling for a bit less at $50 each. Find out more at szaboinc.com or call 386-338-1189.

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  • Mr.T

    Self defence on the opponents ground is actually attacking.